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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 3, 2009 / 13 Menachem-Av 5769

When animal suffering is sanctioned

By Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir





http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Last week we examined the various Torah verses mandating humane treatment of animals; we saw that beyond the underlying prohibition of cruel treatment towards any animal, there is an additional obligation to act positively to relieve the suffering of animals that work with us and serve us — for example, to give our animals rest on Shabbat, to relieve the load of an overloaded pack animal, and so on.


There is still a bit of a paradox. We are not allowed to cause suffering gratuitously to any animal, but if there is a valid human need then even if the animal will suffer the treatment is not considered cruelty. For this reason, there is no question that it is permissible and proper to use animals in medical experiments that are expected to lead to treatments that will alleviate human suffering. But this very usefulness is also what cements our obligation to show concern for the animals.


So the prohibition on animal suffering would never forbid using animals for an important human need, even if the use involved animal suffering; but it would forbid causing suffering not necessary for that need. Nachmanides writes, "[G-d's] mercy on creatures with an animal soul does not extend to prevent us from using them for our needs." (1)


This standard seems to be stricter than the standard for bal taschchis, which forbids gratuitous harm to or destruction of anything valuable or useful to humans. Regarding bal taschchis only gratuitous harm is forbidden, but tzaar baalei chaim, the prohibition on animal suffering, would seem to forbid also disproportionate suffering. In one place in the Talmud the sage Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair states that hamstringing an animal would constitute forbidden suffering, but only killing it would constitute gratuitous harm. My interpretation is that hamstringing the animal does bring some benefit, but not enough to justify the suffering induced. (2)


An additional reason mentioned by the rabbis for human treatment of animals is that it cultivates humane conduct towards people, while inhumane treatment of animals carries the danger of inculcating insensitivity towards other people. (Some recent research confirms a connection between people who torture animals as youngsters and those who are violent as adults, though there is no way to tell if there is a causal relationship.)


The Sefer Hachinuch (596) writes: "Among the motivations for this commandment is to accustom ourselves to delicate souls, choosing the straight path and adhering to it, and seeking mercy and kindness. And once we obtain this habit, then even towards animals, which were created to serve us, we will show concern."


And Nachmanides writes: "The reason for refraining [from taking the eggs in the presence of the mother] is to teach us the quality of mercy, and not to act cruelty. For cruelty [towards animals afterwards] spreads in the soul of man [and expresses itself towards people as well]". (1)


Each consideration is an independent aspect of the law. For example, the noted Medieval authority Rabbi Yisrael Isserlin ruled that plucking geese while they are alive, when there is a need for the feathers, is permissible; the geese do suffer, but there is an evident benefit. However, he then writes that people customarily refrain, because plucking the birds in this way leads to bad traits. (3) Rabbi Moshe Isserlish writes approvingly of this custom. (4)

SOURCE: (1) Ramban, Torah commentary Deut. 22:6. (2) Babylonian Talmud, Chullin 7b; see explanation in Piskei Trumas Hadeshen 105. (3) Piskei Trumas Hadeshen 105 (4) Rema, Shulchan Aruch, Even Haezer 5:14 ARCHIVES


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JWR contributor Rabbi Dr. Asher Meir, formerly of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Reagan administration, is Research Director of the Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem, Jerusalem College of Technology. To comment or pose a question, please click here.

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